A neophyte is someone who is new to a subject or place, which is perfect for Bitter Ghost, a relatively new band with a comfortable throwback-inspired sound, but that doesn’t mean they don’t experiment. Bitter Ghost is ideal for those who enjoy the post-grunge years of 1995-98, which were marked by acts like Foo Fighters and The Toadies (both bands which Bitter Ghost is seemingly inspired by). Their new EP, “Neophyte,” showcases the band’s songwriting skills in just three tracks. The first track, “Poles,” starts with a lone guitar line that would fit seamlessly on “The Colour and The Shape” before being joined by drums, bass, and the main singer’s gruff voice. One thing that I’ve noticed about the band from listening to their music is they certainly have a knack for making their songs soar, something that comes in handy when writing post-grunge with slight pop tendencies. The second track, “Read the Sign,” starts with grungy guitars, but then suddenly (but also smoothly) goes into a pre-chorus with post-punk indebted octave guitar lines, a severity that fits this song extremely well. There is a delightful post-punk edge to their grunge that I hope gets even further emphasized in future releases. When Bitter Ghost sent this EP to us at Melodic Noise they described their last track, “Station Keys,” as sounding like a Nirvana B-Side, a description that will always get my attention. A fast and loose song, “Station Keys” blasts off into a punk riff then leads into a discordant but catchy chorus which very much does sound easily like it could be the B-Side to “Lithium” or any of the other “Nevermind” era Nirvana singles. About halfway through the song, they add a quiet bridge that again capitalizes on the bands post-punk tendencies before launching into the final chorus. Bitter Ghost is undoubtedly making some of the truest grunge rock in Minneapolis right now but with their own spin, which makes them an exciting band to watch (and listen) out for. If you were a teen in the 90s (which I wasn’t) and listened to mainly Nirvana and post-punk acts like Joy Division or Wire (which I definitely did) then you will absolutely love “Neophyte.” Bitter Ghost’s EP release show is July 12th with McVicker, Perfume, and Cysters at Eagles Club. The show is 21+ and $5 at the door, music at 9. Check out the full EP preview below.
Justin - design and mixing and drums
Dan - hats and pedals and guitar and singing
Mark - coffee and coffee and bass
(Melodic Noise) How's your day going?
(Bitter Ghost - Mark) Do you have any idea how much some places charge to remove a family of Squirrels?!
(Bitter Ghost - Dan) Total exhilaration
(MN) Band name?
(BG Dan and Mark in unison) Bitter Ghost!!!
(MN) What’s the band’s origin story?
(BG - Mark) I baked Justin a birthday cake once.
(BG - Dan) I like cake
(BG - Mark) Loud, post-grunge
(BG - Dan) We like anything "post". Even the cereal
(MN) What is the story behind the name?
(BG - Dan) Neophyte, being a neophyte is being new to something. A lot of these songs were written when I was living in Colorado and the new guy. I’ve moved a lot in my life so I’ve always felt like the new guy.
(MN) Lyrically what stands out on the album?
(BG - Mark) I like the line that sounds like something out of Tolkien. If you listen to the 70’s audiobook, it sounds exactly like something Tom Bombadil sings.
(BG - Dan) Tom Bomdadil? Interesting. I was really going for a Carl Sagan vocal key
(MN) What was the inspiration behind the album?
(BG - Dan) Family, friends, jobs, relocation, trying to be an adult even though you’re obsessed with the arrested development of being a musician
(BG - Mark) Justin and I did all of the recording and production. We were channeling Andy Wallace on this mix. When we reviewed mixes for inspiration, he mixed every record on the list. Then it was just a matter of watching hours of his Youtube interviews to figure out his methods. I am not sure how close we got to his sound, but we did learn a lot of new tricks.
(MN) What do you hope people take away from the album?
(BG - Mark) An appreciation for EQ profiling. Blew my mind.
(BG - Dan) That it’s all done earnestly but also with a tongue firmly in cheek
(MN) Is there something that connects the songs together?
(BG - Mark) The Boss DC-2
(BG - Dan) Ice tea, coors lights, and vegan cookies
(MN) Are you locals or transplants?
(BG - Dan) Yes
(MN) What are some of your influences and Minnesota influences?
(BG - Dan) Minnesota itself is a great muse for angst-y rock. Minnesota bands just hustling influences me
(MN) Favorite current Twin Cities artists?
(BG - Mark) Happy Apple, Red light go, Song of Z
(BG - Dan) Blood Banks, In Lieu, Short Timer, Busey, Neon Blaque, Repeat Bias, 83 Wolfpack, Dennis Rivers & the Tabloids, Pretty Still, Elle PF
(MN) Favorite venue to play & see shows in Twin Cities?
(BG - Mark) Before it died, the triple rock. The entry is a close second.
(BG - Dan) What Mark said but I also really love the 331
(MN) What can fans expect when they come to your show?
(BG - Dan) High energy for old folks. Come out and see us before one of us breaks a hip!
(BG - Mark) Hearing loss & broken guitar straps!
(MN) Do you have a favorite/crazy memory of playing a show?
(BG - Mark) I tore my ACL diving off a stage.
(MN) Who are your dream tourmates? (can be anyone)
(BG - Dan) I would love to do a tour all over with Cursive and/or Hop Along
(BG - Mark) Anyone that will take us to Europe or the West Coast.
(MN) Other hobbies?
(BG - Dan) Crushing jabronis on WWE 2K16
(BG - Mark) Body rocking
(MN) What do you like about living in the Twin Cities?
(BG - Mark) US internet
(BG - Dan) June here is better than everywhere else
(MN) Is there anything that sets the Twin Cities scene apart from places you've toured?
(BG - Mark) The audiences are more judgmental here.
(BG - Dan) The people that spend their time doing things like this
(MN) Favorite places to grab food or drink in the Twin Cities?
(BG - Mark) Hard Times
(BG - Dan) Dipped and Debris, Town Hall Tap, Shamrocks
(MN) Day jobs?
(BG - Dan) I work in the day
(BG - Mark) Who gets to only work during the day?
(MN) What are the band's plans for the future?
(BG - Mark) Europe
(BG - Dan) Yeah, Europe would be amazing. Even touring with Europe would be cool! Getting out and about, playing different cities. We're releasing another EP in the fall and hopefully that will get us on a 2 a year rotation. We'll see!